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Monday's papers: Soini badmouthed, Finns' tick fear, literature exchange boom

Finland’s daily papers carry news of summer-related concerns such as the best preventatives for tick bites, but also recent political turns including a top EU representative’s slur against foreign minister Timo Soini. Finland is faring better in its literary exploits, writes Helsingin Sanomat.

Ihmiset jonottavat punkkibussiin Haminassa.
Punkkirokotteen voi hakea apteekin lisäksi esimerkiksi punkkibussista. Image: Juha Korhonen / Yle

A comment slung by the ex-leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe made headlines over the weekend, as Sir Graham Watson went on record as comparing fresh foreign minister Timo Soini's portfolio to Dracula running a blood bank. Daily Iltalehti reports on Monday that the Finns Party's Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo considers the comment an "attack against Finnish democracy" and a return to USSR-age mudslinging.

The Centre Party's Timo Laaninen takes a different view in the Iltalehti piece, calling Watson's criticism a typically British form of parliamentary discourse. Soini himself gains praise from Laaninen, who says in the paper that the Finns leader shows "every sign" of being adept at his new post. Iltalehti's columnist Tommi Parkkonen, for his part, calls Soini a "bully".

Tick vaccinations, medical helicopter call-ins

Iltalehti also runs one of its first stories on the number one Finnish summertime peril and common headline: tick bites and how to survive them. In the eastern city of Kotka, queues for anti-tick bite vaccinations snaked around residential blocks over the weekend. One round of shots guards against tick-borne encephalitis for three years at a time, and can cost between 35 and 50 euros. The other tick-borne killer, Lyme disease, is incurable, the Iltalehti article reminds its readers.

Meanwhile in Pirkanmaa and elsewhere in the country medical emergency helicopter service officials are dealing with curious statistics, as Aamulehti reports that some half of emergency calls are cancelled mid-flight. Cancellations are an everyday occurrence and do not rattle pilots or health workers, doctor Toni Pakkanen tells the paper. However, medical expert Janne Virta from the FinnHEMS helicopter emergency medical service firm is not as nonchalant.

"The practice basically prevents the call centre duty officers from thinking for themselves," Virta says in the Aamulehti piece. "It isn’t their fault for sending out unnecessary choppers. The system’s guidelines make it hard not to."

Finnish literature exchange booming

Finland is doing well in more cultural arenas, namely in literature, if the new leader of FILI is to be believed. Helsingin Sanomat features a long story on Leena Majander-Reenpää, the new chief of the Finnish Literature Exchange. Finnish prose is represented especially well in the world at large, with many hit authors having had their work translated into a slew of languages.

"It’s like what Jean Sibelius and Akseli Gallén-Kallela did for the Finnish arts in their time, which was considered a golden age," Majander-Reenpää says in HS. "And this is a new golden age, a modern boom."

Sources: IL, AL, HS

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